(Additional) Secrets to Successful Selling on Amazon: Part V

April 30, 2014

Marketplaces ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

You asked. We listened.

In February, many of you joined ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces Services Team Lead John Bryan for an informative webinar, “7 Secrets to Successful Selling on Amazon.” During the webinar, John dispensed wisdom on selling your products through the popular marketplace giant.

International ShippingWe were overwhelmed by the positive response to the webinar, and even after it ended, you flooded our inbox with additional questions about the marketplace.

We get it. Amazon can be complicated. And we’re here to help. This month, we posted a five-part follow-up blog series based exclusively on your questions and broken down by topic. (Read Part I on fulfilment by Amazon, Part II on the Amazon Buy Box, Part III on Amazon search terms and Part IV on data quality.)

This fifth instalment features all the remaining questions and covers a variety of topics. From selling internationally to customer reviews to commission fees, our ChannelAdvisor experts have the answers.

Q: Does Amazon have a tool that you can download to see which products you have the lowest price on? Any there other downloads or reports with competitive pricing information?

A: Amazon does provide a selling coach on your pricing and recommendations for enhancements. When you log in to your seller account, you can find this under Reports>Amazon Selling Coach. Additionally, ChannelAdvisor offers a Repricer with Pricewatch, which detects price changes in products you carry on Amazon and strategically adjusts your price. Learn more here.

Q: Is there a way to synchronise my US account with my Canada, UK and EU accounts? We currently have to manage each account separately, each with its own templates, which is time-consuming.

A: ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces can pool your inventory across accounts. You can read more about shared quantity here and also contact us for a demo to see how it works.

Q: Is an EU account different from a UK account?

A: Nothing is really different between the two. Having an Amazon UK account automatically enables you to sell on other Amazon European marketplaces.

Q: If I’m signed up for international shipping on Amazon, how do I get my current Amazon.com products listed on Amazon.co.uk?

A: You’ll need to sign up for an Amazon UK seller account.

Q: How do I set my account to be able to sell my product to Canada?

A: Same as above. You’ll need to sign up for an Amazon Canada seller account.

Q: Any suggestions on how to improve eligibility for international selling?

A: Amazon has a couple of options for international selling. FBA Export allows you to sell products to international buyers shopping on Amazon.com. Global Selling allows you to develop a presence on the international Amazon marketplace, reaching buyers shopping on their native Amazon site. Learn more about each of these options on Amazon’s site.

Amazon-logoQ: How do I respond to customer reviews?

A: Go to your Seller Account and click “Manage your Ratings and Feedback” under the Reports heading. When you find the feedback you’d like to respond to, click the button to respond. You’ll be able to remove the response later if you want to, and if the buyer eventually decides to remove the feedback they left, your response will automatically be removed.

Q: Do you have any suggestions on getting customer feedback? Should we offer a free product or money? We ask for feedback but none, or only a limited amount, comes in.

A: You can request feedback from a buyer. However, Amazon prohibits you from paying or offering other incentives to a buyer for either providing or removing feedback. Check here for more info from Amazon on feedback.

Q: We’re a manufacturer who sells to Amazon. How do we control the reviews on our products when we’re not the seller?

A: Amazon won’t help you police these reviews. Manufacturers should have clear agreements with resellers about their marketplace presence.

Q: I’m in Iowa and have to pay state sales tax on all orders that were shipped to Iowa in 2013. Moving forward, is there a way to automate an additional 6% charge to all my buyers who are shipping to an Iowa address?

A: Amazon provides tax settings that you can implement and control within your Seller Central account. As a seller, you have the ability to enable specific locations where you charge or don’t charge tax, including charging a specific rate you provide. Read more from Amazon on how its tax settings work.

Q: We’re based out of Florida and sell furniture. The price of shipping would be very different if products are going to Georgia versus California. How do most sellers handle that, as Amazon allows only one shipping rate as far as I understand?

A: We’ve seen other sellers review their shipping costs across the locations/regions they ship to and determine an average that tends to cover the total shipping costs. Since there isn’t a shipping calculator available through Amazon, this tends to be how sellers usually approach this issue.

Q: For fulfilment by Merchant (FBM) orders, have you heard of sellers having a difficult time meeting on-time delivery requirements as per the Amazon Service Level Agreements (SLAs)?

A: Fulfilling your own orders and meeting delivery requirements is a common issue sellers struggle with. You’ll want to review your lead-time-to-ship values. If you need additional time, make that clear to customers to ensure you’re meeting their expectations.

Q: How does Amazon factor poor weather into delivery performance reports? The multiple storms, facility closures, etc., can negatively affect performance ratings.

A: Amazon will inform customers of regional weather alerts that could cause delays, but they won’t change your settings on lead time or alter your metrics. You should be proactive and adjust lead times as necessary if your warehouse is delayed because of weather.

Q: There are different statuses for Amazon sellers, such as Premier/Platinum/Gold, etc. How are those achieved, and do those sellers get preferential treatment for lookups and placement on a page?

A: There are levels based on monthly sales, but Amazon doesn’t publicly disclose them. You may be able to check with Amazon to see if they’ll share more information with you. Sellers who reach these levels are often large-volume vendors with access to wholesale prices, and they get extra visibility on Amazon’s site.

Q: Do you recommend having pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Amazon, alongside product listings?

A: Amazon Sponsored Ads can be a great tool for driving traffic to your listings on Amazon. Read more about it here.

Q: What are good Amazon resources for finding more help/advice/secrets on how to be successful?

A: We recommend exploring various blogs dedicated to Amazon (including this one) for guidance. Amazon also has seller forums that could be useful as well.

Q: What percentage of outbound orders is considered a low refund/return rate?

A: Refunds and returns are part of Amazon’s Order Defect Rate (ODR). The ODR target is less than 1%. Read more about this metric here.

Q: Does Amazon allow you to add video to the gallery?

A: Currently, Amazon doesn’t allow video submissions, but you can find out more here.

Q: How can individual sellers promote their products?

A: We recommend using promotions within your Seller Central account at Advertising > Manage Promotions.

Q: What’s a typical Amazon commission for each transaction? I’ve seen it vary between 18-20%.

A: Most categories have a 15% commission fee, but it can vary some depending on the category you sell in. Read more about Amazon’s fees here.

That wraps up our five-part blog series, based on dozens of your specific Amazon questions. We hope you found some valuable takeaways. Thank you for your interest and continued enthusiasm, and we always welcome any questions you might have.

Blog post by Luke Evans, manager, marketplaces services, and John Bryan, team lead, marketplaces services at ChannelAdvisor.

How to Avoid or Fix 10 Costly Amazon MistakesFor more information, download the full Amazon webinar or the new eBook “How to Avoid or Fix 10 Costly Amazon Mistakes.”